Garmin’s new bike computers track fellow riders

It’s been a while since Garmin released a new GPS computer, but this week it added two new devices to its range – the Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820. The new devices packs many improvements over the 800/810 despite sporting a smaller form factor.

An innovative new feature is called Grouptrack. This is designed to allow riders to keep in touch with others in their pack. So if one person falls out of sight, they don’t fall off the device’s map. It’s not always easy to ride in groups, and this could certainly prove to be a useful feature.

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Navigation is a key component of both devices, and Garmin has bolstered the Cycle Map for bike-specific turn-by-turn navigation, round-trip Course Creator and on-device course planning. Built-in GPS, GLONASS and altimeter provide detailed ride data which can be viewed come rain or shine on the 2.3 inch capacitive touch display.

“We are excited to share the newest additions to our extensive cycling line-up with our announcement of the innovative Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales.

“Whether riders are chasing performance and racing goals or out for adventure and touring, the Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820 offer a full-suite of features to help track data that is important to them.”

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For performance-focused cyclists, Garmin has provided a variety of physiological data with the addition of a heart rate strap, so riders can view their cycling-specific VO2 max along with a recovery advisor. There is also additional performance data such as FTP and watts/kg tracking, and in-ride challenges through Strava Live Segments.

To create a safer riding environment, the devices’ integrated accelerometer for incident detection automatically sends a rider’s location message to emergency contacts if assistance is needed. Both devices are compatible with Garmin’s radar-based Varia system as well, a rear-facing radar that will warn you of approaching cars.

Essential reading: Best GPS devices and tracking wearables for cycling

A new Battery Save mode is able to extend the 15-hour battery life by 50% by turning the screen off and only waking it when prompted by the user, while still tracking the details of the ride.

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Finally, with Connect IQ, you can stay in touch while out on the ride via incoming smart notifications, including incoming call and text alerts from compatible smartphones. There is also live tracking, social media sharing and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect Mobile.

The Edge 820 is available for a suggested retail price of $399.99, or $499.99 when bundled with a speed sensor, cadence sensor and a heart rate monitor. You can pick up the Edge Explore 820 for just under $350. This is a lower spec device though, and lacks some of the performance training features of the more expensive Edge 820 and ANT+ support.

 

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